- The point
- A metaphoric image
- An origin of the phrase thru the eyes of corpses
People of good faith try, most of the time, to do the best they can. I judge that the evidence shows that those of good faith should trust the best epistemic & practical methods we have devised so far, scientific ones. And part of that trust, helping to make us confident, is that such methods have proved the best we have to help us not just find errors, weaknesses, & gaps in our knowledge & practices but also to discover new things. Using these methods allow us to recognise that although our knowledge & practices are fallible they also offer means making them corrigible. (A key question is whether there are entities not suited to being investigated by scientific methods: are there limits to their application? In such cases, what sort(s) of methods are needed?)
But given the history of using knowledge, always in conditions of ignorance, the confidence in its use needs to be tempered by a perennial scepticism, a doubting & questioning, making us take a step back even whilst we act, not blindly accepting received ideas & what we think is true, doing this even as we try to apply that knowledge, revising it as best we can. We need to continually examine the evidence, even asking what counts as evidence, trying to find the most pertinent questions, producing & evaluating evidenced arguments – so never accepting the word of an authority.
In this, surprises are our friends, they can help us recognise what’s wrong, give us a chance to know things better, to try to apply that improved knowledge in what we do. If we want to flourish at the expense of suffering we need to meliorate exploitation & oppression – even better, put an end to that Sisyphean labour by liberating ourselves from those conditions, never forgetting that their defenders are likely to resist such efforts.
Dogma is our enemy, the species’ enemy. Too much is at stake to succumb to apparent certainties that cannot be justified by evidenced arguments, using them to keep doing what doesn’t work. The obverse is our friend, the epistemic & practical hope that our knowledge can be improved, & its application made more efficacious. We have nothing to lose or fear if we reject our most cherished beliefs: our new knowledge can be put to work. What’s crucial, what’s rational, is to follow the evidence, & that means wherever it leads: only dogmatism, reluctance, inertia, bad faith, can hold us back. As rational humans we have a duty to act according to the best available evidenced Arguments – none other. We must overcome any resistance that is irrational.
We owe all this to the living – & to the dead, to the corpses, those who ‘watch over us’, watch us struggling to be socially virtuous, acting from the standpoint aspiring to associative humanity. Their eyes may not be on us but their faces are turned towards us. We can do a lot worse & change position for a while, change so we see the world we have created & are creating in a different light, see our world thru the eyes of corpses.
[good faith, bad faith; knowledge, practice; evidence, questions, method, evidenced argument; scientific; trust; fallible, corrigible; knowledge, ignorance; sceptical, examining; surprises; suffering, flourishing; melioration, liberation; liberation, exploitation, oppression; dogma, hope; efficacy; rational, irrational; social virtue; associative humanity]
One fell to musing before the phenomenon, mostly a vast expanse of salt waters, the mirror of heaven’s frowns and smiles, the reflector of the world’s light.
Then a vision of an enormous Social Machine presented itself, of a monstrous Social Machine, more invasive than any empire, and in its man-made might indifferent to heaven’s frowns and smiles, the devourer of the world’s light.
In The Meat Grinder there was room enough for any story, depth enough for any passion, variety enough for any setting, darkness enough to bury millions and millions and millions of lives. Thru the eyes of corpses one witnesses the devouring of the world’s light.
(based on Korzeniowski’s note, 1920, to his The Secret Agent)
I first saw the phrase used by Phil Dickens: http://propertyistheft.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/communism-through-the-eyes-of-corpses
I asked him how he came up with such an evocative expression & he said it was Rob Los Ricos’: http://roblosricos.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/1770/
They both use it as a pejorative, the analysing of capitalist life in old, outdated ways. My usage is somewhat different.
If you find any of the ideas on this blog of interest, & have any thoughts about them, please make a comment or write to me, firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also some playlists available, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_0lIomynixXKjV-QRDgXmg. Thanks.